Between Two Worlds

Summary: Story takes place in early Season 3, shortly after Dean's deal has been made. Sam and Dean are on a hunt for a pair of werewolves but when one brother gets hurt their forced to heal and hunt in unexpected surroundings.

Disclaimer: I own nothing of Supernatural. Well, except DVD's and a couple of books. Rights go to the Krip and the gang at the CW. As of the fic, I own the mistakes.

A/N: Story should be about six chapters long. I am just about done writing it and that is my best guesstimate. Thanks for all that read and for those who review, always nice to hear from folks. So enjoying this season of SN, the writers are not disappointing. I'm going to the SN Convention in Chicago with a friend of mine, Gaelicspirit, in November. Didn't know if anyone else was attending?? If so, let us know!

Chapter One: Ankle Deep

His eyes opened quickly, immediately constricting to the setting sun above him. Things registered with him at a rapid rate, one reality chasing the other: he was on his back, his breathing was sporadic, he could barely move and he was in pain. He blinked a few times, feeling the rise and fall of his chest. His breath came and went. One second it seemed he could inhale normally, the next he was gasping. Painful striders racked through his body and then released into struggling pants. It was a desperate force that set him into a panic, making it difficult to calm himself in the wake of the quiet aftermath.

The light surrounding him teased his eyelids, causing him to wince at the sharp pelts of rays smashing through to the back of his skull. He shut his hazels and let the rainbows of colors swarm in his head. He attempted to roll to his side trying to pull away, go inward, go anywhere but here.

His chest pulled at the tug of his body sending jolts down his spine. His arms instantly came up, hugging his middle. His wet, sticky middle.

He raised his head as much as he was allowed and took a hard glance towards his center. Dark scarlet oozed towards his field of vision, spreading up his flimsy t-shirt. He could see a small pool of red collecting in the curve of his stomach.

Huh.

His head dropped back behind him, slamming into the hard ground. His eyes shifted. There was short, stubbly grass on either side of him; patches of lumpy dirt peeked through deadened areas. Off to the direction of his boots was a wall of Evergreens. Tall and majestic… and they seemed to be singing. He listened carefully to the music, trying to clear his head. Definitely not singing; they were beating a drum.

His ears perked, listening as the beat became louder. Faster. Stronger. Trees certainly didn't play instruments, though. That much he could muddle through. Which meant chances were the noise wasn't coming from the Evergreens.

Oh, shit. The wolf.

It was coming back to finish the job. His arms flailed from his body and reached across on either side of him. Where was his knife? He'd had it in his hand. He grasped at strands of dry and wet grass, the evening mist just starting to touch the Earth. Where was his shotgun? His hands plummeted down, searching. It wasn't shoved in his waistband. His fingers scraped into dirt and mud. Where was his brother? He had been with him, but then had turned and ran the other way. His right hand returned a four-inch stick.

Shit.

The beat was closing in on him, thumping towards him steadily. He could hear the grass rustling to his left side as the predator made his way near.

He started patting his body down. Hands sliding between his skin and wet abdomen, fingers jamming into pockets. He had to have something. Dirty, bloody fingers revealed to him his flask. He loosened the cap and gripped the smoothness in his left hand, his right clutching the stick.

Stab and pour? It wasn't turning out to be his lucky day.

The pounding increased to his left, changing into crunching thumps racing his way. His breath hitched again, causing the pain to shoot through his chest.

God, not now.

The trees around him started to swirl and circle his head. Stunning greens and luscious browns blended together in a watercolor painting gone bad. His mind involuntarily wandered to Seurat the Dot and his high school Art History class. He shook his head, but the splotched polka-dots still remained.

Thump. Thump. Thump.

He batted his eyes hard, feeling the sweat trickle off his brow. He hadn't noticed that before as one stream ran into his eyes, stinging and burning with its entry.

More blinking, matching pound for pound of the thumps closing in. The figure came into his view, distorted and smeared with the colors of the outside. Its eyes snagged on its prey and its body plummeted towards him. The world spun, taking gravity with it, as the trees seemed to fall forward. His eyes closed as the wolf approached. He willed himself to stay in the present and not fall inside himself. If he could gain his strength, suck it up, shore up one more time, he could beat this thing and find his brother.

He heard a small whoosh next to him as the grass departed and a small cloud of dirt sprayed against his cheek. He felt the sinking sensation of a solid form near him, right next to his neck. He turned his body abruptly in the direction of the figure and brought his right arm around, plunging the stick into his perpetrator's flesh. Hard. He flexed his muscles and pushed down, determined to pierce something vital.

A firm hand wrapped around his and pulled back his fingers as the stick was revealed to him. It had reached his target and was now standing on its end, firmly planted in his vermin's jeans. His eyes snapped up to see his brother staring back at him. He had skidded to a stop beside him, falling to his knees just in time to have his disoriented sibling try to stab him in the leg.

Lucky for him, his brother barely had any strength left. Not to mention air.

"Dean."

There was a brief hesitation. A quick smile turned up on his brother's face. "Sammy."

It was good to see one another again. The wolves had separated the boys strategically; they were smarter than the brothers gave them credit for. One had let Sam chase after it, while the other had charged after Dean. The larger wolf turned on Sam, as the man was tiring, finally giving him a good shot at his chest when it had pounced. The smaller wolf had abandoned Dean right before, taking off on its own as it waited to see if it could join in on the eatings from the larger wolf's kill. They were hunting partners, probably been hunting together for some time, the boys had figured out individually.

"Hurts," Sam ground out.

Dean nodded back. "Okay, well... hold on."

Enough words. Time for assessment and motion. His brother's hands grabbed Sam's chin, cupping it gently and then quickly eased down his neck and torso. Deep cuts, criss-cross in design decorated his body from the nape of his neck to his thighs. Blood sputtered out in a couple of areas, seeped through in some and trickled out of most. Definitely stitches. And antibiotics. And painkillers.

"How'd you get away?"

Sam pierced his lips together, filling his lungs as best he could and then releasing his air into the chilly mist around him. He thought about the large wolf, white fur ruffled in excitement, teeth bared, the snarl. Sam had been taken down fighting it off. He had to use his fists and slug the animal a couple of times after it had used its teeth to remove the Glock from Sam's grip. It was ready, hungry and it had the younger brother where it wanted him. And then… something had caught its attention.

Sam shrugged one shoulder. "Dunno. It saw – or heard – something. Maybe the smaller one. It took off."

"You didn't see what it was?"

Sam thought about it again. He had seen something in the setting sun. Dusk had been on the horizon, the light was turning the sky orange and deep purple as it worked its way to the other side of the planet.

Then Sam caught what he thought was a quick, white flash by the Evergreens.

"It looked like a bright light." He looked at his brother. "I don't know. It was pretty far out – way over by the trees."

Dean pushed back from his mini-examination. "Can you stand?"

Sam shook his head, eyes closed. His mind wandered again, flashes of the fight, the struggling wolf over him. His chest pulled sharply. If Dean only knew how much effort it was taking just to keep breathing.

"Have you tried?"

His lashes opened and he stared at his brother incredulous, blood dribbling towards his neck.

"I'm just saying…"

They gulped at the same time. Eyes locked on each other in silent conversation. One brother crouching above the other, able to take off and leave. Go for help. But help was a long ways away. Both feeling the urgency to get out of the open. They had gone from hunters to sitting ducks.

"Find my gun."

Dean turned on his heels and looked around, calmly, moving without drawing attention to themselves. His eyes traveled the ground and he left the injured man for a few seconds, returning with both the shotgun and the silver.

Long fingers took them from him, replacing the knife back into the sheath on his waistband, the gun, resting on his right side. He looked back up. "You're gonna have to leave me."

The answer was quick and absolute. A shake of the head. "Not even an option."

Night was falling fast in the depths of the forest. It would take Sam two unbelievable shots to take both wolves down. And that would be tough if he wasn't playing hurt and suffering from minimal blood loss.

"Sam…"

Sam nodded. Dean couldn't carry him. There was nothing he could use to pull him and he certainly wasn't going to be dragged through the woods. He had to get up and walk. Being left behind was suicide.

He nodded tersely and watched as his brother pushed his body to a standing position. Dean's hands crossed at the forearms and he bent down, offering himself to his younger brother.

Sam reached each hand up and felt Dean's warm fingers clasp around his wrists. He met his eyes again and gave a quick nod.

Dean's voice was soft and almost sweet as he gave the count. "One. Two…Three."

Dean jerked up and back, pulling hard as Sam's feet lost ground on the hard dirt. His little brother slid clumsily across the ground, failing to reach purchase. His lanky form flopped back bringing the older hunter with him, causing Sam to fall back to the ground with a dull thud.

"Son of a…" Dean bit off the last part and settled himself over Sam's body, straddling himself across his knees. His eyes followed up the his body as his brother gasped for air, shallow breaths tumbling after another. He shook his head down and took a hard glance over his right shoulder, reaching into the vast darkness of the Evergreens. It had turned from green to black where he had just came from but he could still see the rumpled brush and broken branches of his hurried journey. He watched for any signs of movement, but it was still, except for the wind. Dean's fingers unconsciously slipped across his gun tucked under his belt and his eyes flashed back to the younger man.

The light surrounding them had almost completed its day. The soft heat was being taken over by the chilly air. It sent with it a breezy, cool wind. Dean watched the shivers wave off of Sam and felt the twitches in the long legs under him.

"Come on," he encouraged again, slapping Sam's knees, raising his own body up and extending his hands back down.

Sam's head lulled, shaking back and forth. His eyes were squeezed tighter than his mouth, his hands holding on to his sides.

"Sam," Dean's voice warned, "we're being tracked."

His brother's body stilled. It had registered with him, but his arms laid limply next to his body, the blood from his chest covering the entire front of the t-shirt now.

Dean swallowed. "Dude, the longer we stay here…" he stopped for a moment and tried to use the urgency to his advantage, "one of them is gonna find us."

Dean let his air out when the green slits met his eyes and Sam's head bobbed up and down. The older man planted his feet firmly on the ground and crossed his arms again, large calloused hands stretched to his brother. Sam reached out and clapped his palms to Dean's. The dark blond hair bounced back in rhythm to the silent count. Dean pulled back again, this time pulling lower into his calves. He let Sam's legs hit his, anchoring him around his brother as he grasped at the long body. Sam turned up slowly and painfully until the hisses and groans he had stuffed in his throat made their way out of his mouth. He slurped back his own spit and half-attempted to control his breathing as he realized he was upright. His legs were shaky and lead up to an equally wobbly body. The nausea started to tickle his stomach and Sam shut his eyes. Any second now the ground was going to rush up and meet him.

But then Dean's hand shifted from his wrist to the back of his neck and he was being pulled closer to his brother. Dean's left leg was pushed in between Sam's and the vertigo was releasing. Three extra inches on him but it was Sam who was shrinking and Dean who was standing taller.

"I gotcha, Sammy."

Sam wanted to melt against his brother. Wanted him to just take it all away and let him not have to work for it anymore.

"Come on."

But Dean wouldn't let him off the hook that easy. Not when lives hung in the balance. Especially theirs. Especially Sam's.

Sam staggered to stand on his own, his length working against him, trying to topple him over. But he followed next to Dean in a snail race to the next set of tree lines. He felt the blood run out of his body, warm and thick only to trickle to a cold stop against his skin. His left side carried with it much greater pain than his right causing him to walk with a hunch over his left, casually bumping into Dean in the process. He wanted to apologize but there wasn't enough air in his lungs to make the words magically appear. There was only enough to keep his feet moving forward. He wasn't even really sure how the rest of him was operating.

"We'll get you back to the cabin."

Sam's head shot up at Dean's words. They had scoped the place out yesterday, made sure it was empty before setting up shop. It was the perfect location to nestle in for the hunt, out of the way and smack in the middle of where the killings had occurred. They had spent a couple of days in the three small Michigan towns, interviewing residents and loved ones. It turned out most victims had been out fishing or walking on the edge of the woods, in a nearby park area. Six people had disappeared and then later discovered by local authorities deep in the woods, scattered near the cabin. Their throats were slashed apart, chests were gorged, skin ripped away. Some didn't have their livers, some were missing their spleens, but all were without hearts. The lunar cycle didn't match up, but the way of killing, the damage inflicted… it pointed to werewolf.

"Almost there, Sam. Stay with me."

Sam shivered. He hadn't realized how much he was using Dean as a crutch. He pulled away, standing taller, one foot sluggishly following the other. He wished they were there already, that he was patched up and covered to his neck in warm blankets. He pushed the butt of the gun down on the dirt and shoved off, motivating his legs ahead. The locals had pointed them in the general direction of Jed Ward's cabin. The old man was something of town legend, dying many years ago in the earlier 1900's, and passing the out-of-the-way house on down the names of ancestors. It had been in the Ward family forever, really, or at least since any of town folk could recall. The only surviving child the old man had, Carla, inherited the house. Jed's son and wife had passed on at a family get-together near the cabin. A vicious attack. Wolf-related. It happened in these parts, even back in the day. Jed and Carla had witnessed the maulings and although people warned him, Jed refused to leave his home.

Carla was married at the time, with a couple of children. Apparently, after she died, one of her children took over ownership and then the grandchildren. Two elderly men sitting outside of the barbershop in the last town rocked in their chairs, chatting about a beautiful young woman who had come into town a long time ago. She claimed she was Ward's great-granddaughter, Caroline. She came in for supplies as she was planning on spending the weekend out at the old family shack.

"How long ago was that?" Sam had inquired.

The old men thought maybe it had been fifteen, twenty years, maybe more if time moved as quickly as they suspected it had the older they got. Their memories just weren't what they use to be. But the portly man, with the tiny glasses, seemed to remember two other things about Jed's kin's last visit. One, she wasn't alone. She had been traveling with her young daughter. And two, it had been at the tail end of the last killing spree.

Sam had bunkered down and started his research on the Internet and at the towns' community centers. All three towns consisted of about one hundred fifty people, just shy of four hundred all together. They just didn't have the means for libraries or record halls.

"Every twenty-five years people come up missing or dead," Sam had reported to Dean. "It's been happening for at least… well, over a hundred years." What was even more odd was the number. It was always the same. Eight people came up missing, eight corpses found out in the middle of the forest. Shredded.

That meant there would be two more victims. Two more people to save.

There wasn't much information about Jed Ward's cabin. Just a deed, stamped as "paid for" in 1884. It had been actually acquired by the family before that date, but the records were nowhere to be found.

Dean nodded and grabbed their things, packing heavily. They had to park the Impala over a mile away from the location of the cabin, trekking through dense brush and forest just to reach the clearing. It was another quarter of a mile to the house sledging through mud and gunk as they forged on. No grass, no flowers, just mud. The house sat calm and quiet in a small valley, surrounded by numerous small dirt mounds.

"Must be a bitch when it rains," Dean mumbled as he slid on some hidden mud under the mounds.

The cabin was filthy - inside and out. The windows were streaked with grit and grime, about twenty-five years worth. The wood was splintered, boards needed replaced and if there had been a color painted on it, it was long faded now. The door sat in the center of the front of the house with a modernized peephole, sandwiched between two small windows. There was a design toward the center of the door, an etching made from hand and the whole package gave the appearance that the door was smiling at the hunters as they approached.

Dean had stashed two duffels in the house, after picking the newer lock. One contained extra clothes for both brothers, bottled water, food and first aid supplies. The other contained extra weapons, herbs, books and rituals. He stuffed one behind an old brown leather sofa and the other in a large closet off the living area.

The inside of the cabin was dank and dreary. Curtains and blinds were pulled down and were covered in dust. There was a small kitchenette with an eating area attached to it. A newer refrigerator was installed next to the kitchen sink. Oyster colored Granite countertops were smooth and glossy under the film of dirt. There was a compact microwave over the small stove. Old mixed with modern. Someone had made updates here in the past twenty years.

The living area was small, but big enough for the old sofa and two matching leather chairs gathered around an old-fashioned coffee table. Two bedrooms flanked the back of the house with a small bathroom wedged in between.

"There aren't any beds in here," Sam had observed, "but it looks like the couch folds out." Each bedroom came equipped with a closet and a chair, both brown leather as well. The rooms were each stacked with classic books, dusty and unused. There was a small phonograph in one room and a larger 1960's clock radio in the other. The living room had a record player with two large speakers on either side. Towers of vinyl records were nestled in the corners. There wasn't any electricity that sparked when Dean flicked the lights, but two generators sat in the backyard, next to an old well pump, and both fired up when Sam tested them. The pump could fuel the flush of the toilet and water lightly drizzled out of the shower, but no way they would try to drink the grayish-concoction.

Sam had armed himself with his favorite Glock, Dean took his Colt and each had a blade on them as they headed out the door. Sam had also grabbed his shoulder bag as well, loaded with salt and lighter fluid. Things hadn't been working smoothly lately They had run across a string of hunts that had fallen apart in their hands, but just in case things started looking up, they couldn't forget the most common part of their job.

Dean had refused anything else. He had a way of doing that lately. Making sure Sam was fully ready, that Sam was protected, that Sam was untouchable. Because now with his signature in red, sealed with a hot kiss, he was already a dead man. So, Sam came first. Of course, he had always came first. It was just more apparent these days.

"Sam?"

The younger hunter shook his head; his world no longer swimming. It was drowning. His knees trembled and he hadn't noticed Dean's grip had tightened under his arms.

"I need to… sit down."

Dean ticked his head to the left. "Just a little further…"

But Sam was already lowering himself to the ground, folding his knees up to his stomach and holding on. The pain was engulfing his chest, burning his lungs. Even the small hairs on his torso were being pulled from the wet, clingy t-shirt. The dim light was a welcoming comfort to him; the ground accepted his weight and a coppery-salt smell hit his nose. Followed intensely by a strong, fruity aroma.

Blood. Sweat. But the third…

"You smell that?"

Dean was already turning around when the wolf hit him. It was lean and small and covered in white fur. His hands pushed instinctly against it and then his elbows followed, pushing and prying as the little animal ambushed its prey. White jagged teeth sneered, tainted with red and it snapped at the hunter. Dean's body shifted under its weight as the wolf rolled with him back down the small hill he and Sam had just climbed.

"Dean!" His brother's scream came way too delayed, way too late as Dean's back was rubbing on debris, skidding down the mound. The animal planted its front paws on the older hunter's chest and it lashed out, its maw coming within centimeters of Dean's jugular.

"Sam," Dean began, but it hit the air breathlessly. The animal was small, but it was a powerhouse and it used its position to its advantage, taking guard over Dean's shoulders, pinning him to the hard ground.

Dean brought his hands up and grabbed the animal's jaws, holding them together. He shoved back; the wolf's neck was strained as far as he could push without breaking it. The wiry body struggled to free itself, flopping like a fish out of water, loosening Dean's hold on him. His hands slipped and Dean tried to crab-crawl back as fast as he could.

It wasn't fast enough. The claws were splayed and swiped easily and angrily at the hunter as he moved away. Red flesh returned, embedded in the animal's nails, leaving Dean's left side dripping. He rolled in protection, reaching back to his waistband where his knife was securely waiting for him.

Dean's hand pulled back, steadying his sights on the small wolf's neck when its claws came back again and scratched down Dean's left side for the second time, tearing at new skin, ripping into scratches recently imposed.

Dean moaned and let a small cry release, the knife losing its power of fight, Dean losing his mark. The silver lightly tore into the wolf's left shoulder blade. Barely a drop of blood spilled back.

The wolf swiped at his right hand, the blade flying easily from the older man's grasp, slicing new scratches into his hand and wrist. Dean coiled into a half ball, bringing his knees closer to push the animal off. The wolf stared down at him, grinning with large white fangs, dripping saliva escaped its bottom lips. Its lackluster silver eyes greedily gazing into Dean's orbs. A long pink tongue projected out and licked the width of its mouth. Any second now, Dean watched, it was going to take its bite.

"Hey, doggy," Sam's voice was crisp and close. Dean turned at the same time as the wolf to see Sam lingering over them, Glock pointed at the small chest. The animal released a rumble from its vocal cords and bared its teeth, muscles bouncing under its skin as it considered its next move.

Sam made it for him. The sound of the gunshot echoed in the woods, the Evergreens reverberating it back over and over again to the hunters' ears.

Sam didn't bat an eye. One hit, silver bullet, through the heart and the animal fell instantly. The blood spilled quickly from the tiny hole and Dean was already scrambling out from beneath the heap of fur.

"Nice shot," Dean commented as he kicked away from the wolf. His own hands went to his left side as he surveyed the damage the wolf had inflicted. Surface wounds. They spattered blood trails and left behind serrated skin tears, but nothing deep. Nothing like the gashes and craters adorning Sam's upper body. He smiled and turned his head towards his brother. Or maybe more like his disoriented brother who was falling to his knees, gun still in hand.

"Sammy!"

Dean scooted from his spot near the slain wolf and hurried over to his younger brother. His arms unraveled from his body as Sam swayed in the blowing wind and he reached the younger man right before he took the nosedive. Perfect timing. His ring caught on the back of Sam's jacket as he pulled him upright, tapping his cheeks gently. "Hey, Sam. Sam! Open your eyes."

Dark hazels sluggishly opened to the command, staring heavily at his older brother. Sam shifted his own weight on his knees, feeling the somber pull of gravity, feeling the swarm of nausea. "Cold, Dean."

Dean nodded in response. "Okay. Let's get you back up the hill. Cabin's not far."

Sam met his brother's eyes. He was defeated.

"Come on. I promise. Just a little bit more, okay?"

Sam swallowed hard and gave him a quick nod. "Not far."

"Right. Not far."

The younger brother's eyes narrowed. "You okay?"

Dean huffed. "Seriously? You think Lassie could take me down?"

Sam tried to smile, but abandoned the idea when the sides of his cheek quaked. He gestured towards the wolf. "Burn it first."

Dean glanced behind him. The fur was shedding; speckles of white spots still coated the transforming body. Dean's eyes tapered as he looked at the white skin underneath, pale and silky. Young. Real young.

He turned back to his brother. "I'll come back for it."

Sam shook his head. "No, I can wait." He nodded towards the smaller bag he had with them. "Lighter fluid's in there. And salt."

Dean stole another quick look. The wind had kicked up and most of the white fur was gone now, leaving behind a small corpse.

"What is it?"

Dean swiveled back to his brother, taking in his interest, but keeping him diverted. "Nothing." He met Sam's eyes. "Dude, you're freezing. I'll come back for him."

Sam's eyes ventured over Dean's shoulder. "It was a guy?"

Dean nodded, trying not to seem frantic to grab his brother's view. "Yeah. Come on…"

But Sam's eyes were locked on the petite form lying lifelessly on the hill. He pushed himself up with the palms of his hands, ignoring the blood that spilled out of his gashes, ignoring the pull and pain, ignoring that he didn't have the energy to move, and pushed by Dean.

"Jesus Christ." It was a whisper. This wasn't real. Werewolves were make believe. Everyone knew that. And kids weren't werewolves. This was a dream.

Dean grabbed at his brother's shoulder. It didn't feel like a dream. It felt pretty damn real. Sam wiggled away from Dean's hold.

"Sam, don't. Don't look. Please."

But Sam couldn't help but look at anything else. He crept up slowly to the form and studied it from head to toe. He was perfect. A blonde haired little boy, muscles formed under his milky skin, all ten fingers and all ten toes. His lips were still pink and puckered, his eyes were slightly open and Sam could see the flicker of light brown his iris had once projected into the world. His rib cage was visible through his thin body, his chest torn open from the tiny bullet hole, blood still finding its way out. He was beautiful.

Sam sunk down to his knees, his hands gently grazing the boy's still-warm arm. "What do you think?" his voice, surprisingly strong wafted to Dean.

His brother was struck in silence. He shrugged his shoulders behind Sam, knowing he couldn't see him. "What? You want me to get the bag…"

"You think he's, what? Seven? Eight?" Sam hitched on the last word, causing his eyes to burn.

Dean crept up behind him, placing a hand on his younger brother's back. He tapped lightly on him, offering his aide in helping Sam to stand again. "Yeah," he answered, "somewhere right around there."

Tears danced on Sam's brims as he lifted his lids back up, staring, unbelievably at his actions. "I shot a…"

"A werewolf, Sam." Dean challenged his stare. "You shot a werewolf."

One tear amusingly made its way down Sam's cheek. He angrily batted at it, irritated at the betrayal. "No. A boy."

Dean was shaking his head, ready for the guilt, ready for the self-battery of four-letter words. "It was a thing. It was trying… it was going to kill me. I wouldn't have done anything different than you did. You know that."

The brown moppy bangs fell forward, causing a dark shadow over Sam's face. His already abused chest seemed to even out, taking breaths deeper. His body seemed to be accepting, but Dean knew his mind would be another story.

Dean placed his hand under Sam's armpit and started to pull him up, grabbing at his sleeve. "Someone else… did that… to the boy. You only shot a monster."

But as Sam was being raised away from his kill, the werewolf didn't look like much of a monster anymore. He looked like somebody's son. Somebody's brother. Somebody who should have been in the second grade.

"Dude, you're soaking. You're bleeding all over." Dean's hands pushed the taller man upright and he wrapped his right arm around his waist. It was going to take longer to get back to the cabin now, injured and disheartened. Dean had more weight to carry from his younger brother.

"Up over this hill, Sam."

Sam's shoulder bumped into Dean's and he automatically tried to straighten himself up, only to find his body being pulled back down by his weight. Pulled back down by the weight of the universe. Or maybe it was Hell. Maybe Dean's deal came with other consequences for both of them to live through first. His shoulders really were heavy and he was losing ground fast.

"You remember leaving the lights on?" Dean's voice waffled over to Sam. The older brother started to slow his pace feeling Sam's body lean towards him. The generators in the back were fully charged and able to supply the small house with power for a few days. Dean's gait stalled to an almost stand still. Sam's arm came up on his shoulder and he met his brother's eyes with need. Need to get into the safety of the other side of the smiling door. Dean winced and gulped and then dragged his brother along with him. Two sets of booted feet started up the old steps of the front porch.

They stopped short of turning the knob as music filtered in from under the doorjamb.

Well, she was an American girl

Raised on promises

She couldn't help thinkin' that there

Was a little more to life

Somewhere else…

"Sam, I didn't turn on the radio," Dean hoarsely whispered to his pale brother.

Sam barely heard him, however, his head was spinning. The Earth was wildly teetering and tottering hard lefts and sharp rights. He could feel warm sticky goo run down his leg as Dean stood still, trying to decide the best course of action.

"Knock," Sam requested.

"What?"

Sam's energy was leaving him. "Please."

Dean blinked. There really wasn't any other choice. They had left two of their duffels stashed away in the house yesterday before they headed out for the hunt. With any luck, the new occupants hadn't discovered them yet.

"Sure," Dean smirked, "I mean, Tom Petty fan, right?"

Sam managed a smile and a slight roll of his eyes.

Dean rapped on the door.

Tom Petty's voice lowered, the volume softly playing in the background accompanying the noisy squeaks of the floorboards.

Oh, yeah, all right

Take it easy baby

Make it last all night

She was an American girl.

Shadows cast eerily through the small windows of the door, the feet smacking on hardwood becoming closer and then all movement ceased. Dean flashed a smile, figuring he was the center of attention through the peephole. His lips felt foreign as they tightened over his teeth. The smile didn't touch his eyes, though. The greens were too busy shifting to his brother who was slumping heavier on his shoulder.

The knob softly clicked and turned as the old oak door crept open. The inside started dark and grew lighter as the crack became larger and then they were greeted by something very familiar. The double barrel of Dean's shotgun.

Playlist: American Girl from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers